Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News
Brycen Garnett's parents say their son went from being an active, energetic baby taking his first steps to needing physical therapy daily after contracting the most severe form of West Nile virus.
A mosquito changed the life of a Lake Dallas family forever.
In either late September or early October, the Garnett family's youngest child, Brycen, contracted West Nile virus.
In a matter of days, the vibrant little boy, who in home videos is captured walking and crawling, became lethargic and fever-ridden.
"[It] started out as a mild fever, wasn't too suspicious of it because of teething," Steven Garnett said. "Days rolled on, [he was] eating less, drinking less, more tired, not moving as much."
After a doctor's visit, things appeared fine. Brycen's fever was going down.
But on the drive back home, he began having seizures. Garnett said the convulsions were "real jerky." It was very scary, especially while driving because they didn't know where to pull over, he said.
"He called me and said, '911, get up here now,' and so I drove as quick as I could," said his wife, Jame.
Their son was taken to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. The hospital said the boy is one of the youngest West Nile virus patients it has ever treated.
Brycen has West Nile meningoenciphalitis.
"His neck and back are paralyzed," Jame Garnett said. "He has no control over those."
Brycen just turned 1-year-old on Tuesday.
His future is filled with doctor visits and daily therapy to loosen his joints. The hope is that he will be able to walk again.
"It's hard as a parent, seeing your child grow up and taking all of his first steps and eating real food and waking up one day and he can't even hold his head up anymore," Steven Garnett said.
Doctors at Cook Children's said only time will tell how Brycen's recovery shapes up.
Lake Dallas, where the family lives, did not conduct ground spraying for mosquitoes carrying the disease.
The Garnett family has set up a fund to help pay for the therapy bills, which are piling up: